There were 18 teams and around 180 wrestlers at the Black Hills Classic on Feb. 3. The event took place at the gyms in Hill City.
There was a mix of different schools represented. The bulk of the schools were Class B schools.
Howard Schrier, assistant coach of the Hill City wrestling program, said they were happy with the turnout of wrestlers, teams and spectators.
There were some teams that came over from Wyoming and Schrier said that they were happy to have them there.
“This time of year we usually put this tournament on and it’s usually good competition and we enjoy putting it on,” Schrier said.
There were 18 businesses that helped put forth funds to put everything together. Individuals also contributed their own personal funds.
Schrier said that the coaches like the event because it gives them a chance to showcase the Hill City wrestlers.
“We couldn’t put it on without our sponsors,” Schrier said.
Wrestlers and their families have to be pretty dedicated to take part in the sport. The wrestling team travels to places like Martin, Presho, and Moorcroft, Wyo. in their season.
Members of the team could be gone for up to 16 hours due to long distance tournaments.
It’s hard for spectators to come and see the wrestlers so when there is a chance to see wrestling in Hill City it is really special.
The weather conditions weren’t too bad for most of the tournament. The snow was able to hold off for awhile so people could safely travel to and from the tournament.
There is a lot of support from the community assisting with different jobs at the event. Schrier said there were around 30 volunteers that contributed their time to the event.
They did everything from running clocks to keeping stats and updating the bracket boards.
Schrier said they also appreciate their neighbors to the south, Custer. They lent some mats to Hill City to use for the tournament and also set up the online program Track Wrestling so people could track wrestling results throughout the day.
A couple of weeks ago there were wrestlers that contracted the flu and other illnesses.
“We’re slowly getting everybody back in,” Schrier said.
Some of the students were out for a week and that hit the team hard.
“They’re back now and working on getting back their lungs,” Schrier said.
Schrier said the attitude and effort of all of the wrestlers has been fantastic this season.
“Coach Kruse and I have talked about that several times. We just really appreciate the effort of the kids and the support of their parents to get them there,” Schrier said.
Schrier said there are five wrestlers in Hill City that have been wrestling pretty well. There have also been some young guys that have learned a lot.
Some wrestlers are looking to compete well in the regional meet next week. According to Schrier, they’re in a tough region so they have to see how it will play out.
“We’re going to continue to work hard and work on improving,” Schrier said.
Tyler Arnold, junior, who wrestled in the 138 weight class, placed fourth and scored 16 team points on Feb. 3.
“I think I could’ve done better,” Arnold said.
“As a team I think we did pretty good. A lot of people got the wins they were supposed to and some that they weren’t.”
Arnold is hoping to progress and make continual improvement over the next couple of weeks. They have been lifting weights a lot more as a team. He said a couple of drills they have done have helped him.
Kalel Worischeck, senior who wrestled in the 145 weight class, said that his season has not gone the way that he would’ve liked it to go as he has has injuries that have kept him out of tournaments.
“When I have been wrestling and feeling 100 percent I’ve been doing pretty good,” Worischeck said.
At the Black Hills Classic he received third place and scored 17 team points.
Worischeck said he barely won a match to get into the championship round.
He is looking forward to the near future and finishing strong in his last wrestling season.
“A lot of guys are looking forward to this part of the season. A lot of the work they put in is going to pay off hopefully,” Worischeck said.
He is also hoping that his hard work will be an advantage over his opponents.
The tournaments coming up are Worischeck’s favorite part of wrestling.
“This is when I finally start to feel like I’m wrestling my best. I’m really excited. Especially it being my last year,” Worischeck said.
This Saturday the wrestling team travels to Hot Springs for the Black Hills Conference.